German shepherd Eiko is enjoying retirement life while inspiring his owner to follow in his search-and-rescue footsteps.

Devon O'Brien first met when Eiko was a search-and-rescue dog under the care of O'Brien's partner's mother. From that day forward, she knew Eiko was the one. 

"Basically, since the day I met him, I was gunning for him," O'Brien tells Daily Paws. "Like, OK, whenever he retires, he's coming to live with us. I'm taking him. This is going to be my dog."

Eiko took his job very seriously, but because of his dedication, he sustained some injuries. It became time for the hard-working dog to begin his well-deserved retirement, and O'Brien finally got to take him in as his "retirement home." 

O'Brien was warned that working dog Eiko wasn't going to act like a typical pet who would cuddle on the couch, but that didn't scare O'Brien off. When it became time for Eiko to start his new life, O'Brien noticed him slowly transform into a different dog.

"He's very spoiled and he leans into it," O'Brien says about her German shepherd. "So he has totally turned into that dog that wants to cuddle and snuggle and be pet all the time."

When not cuddling or begging for attention, Eiko is still a very active dog. Because Eiko isn't aware he's retired, O'Brien has to find ways to keep him active, practicing his skills and satisfying his desire to work. The pair's favorite game is what she calls "hide and seek." To play their version, Eiko searches the woods for a hidden person or a hidden item with a human's scent. 

Eiko obviously isn't ready to fully give up his career quite yet, which is why he's considered "semi-retired." He's still on standby for water rescues and is one of the only dogs in New England certified for water searches. 

Eiko is an inspiration, and thanks to him, O'Brien is now taking courses to become a certified search-and-rescue handler herself. 

"He's just changed my life in so many ways for the better, and I truly can't imagine life without him at this point," O'Brien says.